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John Cameron and Janet McGregor

According to the initial passenger list for the Blenheim, John Cameron was from Achranach, and were recommended by Sheriff Gregorson and his Parish Minister.  The family included:

  • John Cameron, 49, labourer
  • Janet McGregor, his wife, 44
  • John Cameron, his son, 26, ploughman
  • Angus Cameron, his son, 24, labourer
  • Charles Cameron, his son, 20, labourer
  • Duncan Cameron, his son, 17, cowherd
  • Allan Cameron, his son, 15, cowherd
  • Anne Cameron, his daughter, 12
  • Archibald Cameron, his son, 9
  • Dugald Cameron, his son, 7
  • Marjory Cameron, his daughter, 5

Return to The Blenheim People.


John Cameron and Janet McGregor

John Cameron, known as John “Mor’ Cameron, meaning Big John Cameron, was born probably at Invermaillie in Inverness-shire, near Achnacarry in Lochaber, in the parish of Kilmallie.  His parents were Angus Cameron and Anne McIntyre. The age of 100 given in reports of his death was probably overstated, 90 being more likely, giving a birth year of around 1790.

At some point, John Cameron must have moved to Morvern. Achranach (or Achranich) was part of the Ardtornish estate at the head of Loch Aline in the parish of Morven, in Argyll.    John Gregorson purchased the estate in 1819, having previously rented it from the Duke of Argyll, and for a time was Sheriff for the district. Achnagoun/Achnagaun is near to Achranich.

Based on information provided for her death registration, Janet McGregor was born in Argyll, Scotland to John McGregor, farmer, and Ann St Clair, and was married at Lismore to John Cameron when she was 17 years old. If she was 94 at the time of her death this would put the marriage in 1803, but it is more likely that her age was around 84, which would put the marriage in 1813, a better match for the birth information for her children and their name order, and her birth year as around 1796.

In any event, the family of John Cameron and Janet McGregor which set sail on the Blenheim in 1840 included 7 sons and 2 daughters.

After arriving in New Zealand, John Cameron may have worked on the road from Kaiwarra to Wellington, but later explored in the Wairarapa and obtained a property on the shores of Lake Wairarapa.

During this period, Angus Cameron was drowned in Lake Wairarapa and then his brother Duncan was drowned in Cook Strait.

In 1850, the Wairarapa farm was sold to Charles Matthews, and the Camerons moved initially to Porirua, and then to Turakina, where they were among the first settlers. Their first property in the Rangitikei was called “Invermaillie”, but after a few years John and Janet moved to another property up the Turakina Valley which they called “Glenmore”.  They later moved to Mangahoe in the Hunterville district, before returning to Turakina.

Janet (McGregor) Cameron died on 9 November 1880, with her age given as 94. Her death registration noted that she died at Turakina Valley. She was the daughter of John McGregor and Ann St Clair; born in Argyllshire, Scotland and had been in New Zealand for 40 years; was married at Lismore, Scotland, to John Cameron when she was 17; and had 4 sons and 2 daughters living. The informant was her grandson, John Baldwin, Turakina Valley.

The Wanganui Herald of 13 November 1880 reported, “There has passed away at her residence up the Turakina Valley, a very old resident of that district, in the person of Mrs John Cameron, senior. The old lady was approaching her hundredth year, and till recently enjoyed the use of all her faculties, and was remarkably active considering her very advanced age.”

The Grey River Argus of 24 November 1880 carried a report of the funeral: “The Highland customs are even in the north of Scotland rapidly passing away. A funeral in the old style is seldom witnessed in Scotland now save in the case when a representative of the nobility ‘shuffles off this mortal coil.’ One would hardly expect, therefore to see a real Highland funeral here at the Antipodes. Yet such a funeral was that of the late Mrs John Cameron, who, at the ripe age of 94, was gathered to the lap of mother earth at Turakina recently. The customs of the Gael, which were in vogue a century ago, were rigidly observed, The husband of the deceased lady, though 102 years old, prescribed all the dirges which were to be played on the bagpipes at the funeral of the wife who had shared his joys and sorrows for 77 years. The cortege was the largest ever seen in the district, and amongst the mourners were many of the oldest settlers of the West Coast. It was not only by Europeans that Mrs Cameron’s death was lamented; about 40 Maoris met the sad procession with weeping willows, and their wailing cry drowned the notes of the bagpipe.”

John Cameron died little more than two months later on 19 January 1881.  His age was given as 100 years but was more likely to have been 90.  The Wanganui Herald of 20 January 1881 carried the Death Notice: “Cameron – Died at his residence, Turakina Valley, on Wednesday, January 19th, Mr John Cameron, senior, at the advanced age of 100 years.  The funeral will leave his late residence, on Saturday, the 22nd inst., at 1 o’clock precisely.  All friends are invited to attend.”  The funeral was reported in the Wanganui Herald of 24 January 1881:

FUNERAL OF THE LATE JOHN CAMERON OF TURAKINA,
The earthly remains of this venerable old gentleman were interred in the Turakina Cemetry on Saturday last. The funeral cortege was the largest ever seen in the district, among the number being nearly all the old pioneers of settlement on the coast. The procession started from the late residence of the departed in the Turakina Valley, and entered the township in the following order. Two carriages containing the pall-bearers, the Minister (Rev. J. Ross), the undertaker and piper. Then came the hearse, followed by two carriages containing the nearer relatives as chief mourners. The carriages were followed by eight grand-daughters on horseback and more than that number of grandsons, also riding. Then came eight carriages filled with friends and neighbors, followed by about 60 others on horseback. As the cortege rounded the Valley road into the Turakina road the pedestrians to the number of 60 or more formed in file and followed on. The cemetery was also attended by a large number of women and children. As the grand-daughters entered the Cemetry they were each handed a wreath of flowers which were dropped into the grave at the conclusion of the services. The Rev. J. Ross performed the last sad rites, delivering an impressive address suitable to the occasion. Business in the township was entirely suspended during the day.

The Wanganui Chronicle of 1 February published the following obituary:

THE LATE MR J CAMERON.
(FROM A CORRESPONDENT.) On my return from the funeral of the late John Cameron, senr., of Turakina, I fully intended to have sent you a full description of it, but I found every part of the ceremony so much the same as that adopted at the funeral of his wife, who departed this life about two months ago, that a repetition would not have been interesting to many of your readers. I will, however, give a brief account of the last days of the old man, and a short biographical sketch of a few of his ancestors, which I hope will be interesting, at least to his friends and neighbours, among whom he has sojourned for the last forty years.
On the 19th January, 1881, at the ripe age of a hundred years, old John Cameron passed away from the midst of his family, deeply lamented and regretted. He had been ailing for some time previous, but, excepting the decay of nature, there was nothing painful attending his latter days. Saturday, January 22nd, was fixed for the funeral, and, as the day was remarkably fine the attendance exceeded that at the funeral of his wife. At 1.30 p.m., the pipes commenced ‘Return no More’ and the procession moved on from his residence, some hundred and fifty horsemen and several conveyances following. As on the former occasion, when the cortege reached Glenmore, the residence of his son Archibald, a halt of ten minutes was made for refreshment, and here many joined the procession, which with others at the village was swelled to upwards of two hundred. Business was entirely suspended, and the whole of the inhabitants were in attendance at the graveyard. The Rev. John Ross performed the service and gave a very impressive address, which was listened to with silent attention, and the scene and the grave thus closed over one of the best and noblest specimens of our nature and the pride of his family. His stalwart frame, manly bearing, and simple honesty and generosity will be long remembered by all whose lot it has been to enjoy his acquaintance and friendship. To allow one, who has contributed so largely to advance and promote the interests of our adopted country by his own industry, as well as that of a large family who accompanied him here nearly forty years ago in the ship Blenheim, to pass away without comment, would be a reproach to the community, and I can only wish that some one more able to do justice to his memory had taken up the task. However, to me it is a labour of love, and if critics will let it pass, and you consider it worth a place in your columns, I shall feel well repaid. During the few days that have elapsed since the funeral I have endeavoured to collect some little information about the ancestors of our departed friend, and I learn that they have all descended from the clansmen of the Great Lochiel, whose attachment to the House of Stuart, and his determination against his own judgment to share the fortunes of the Pretender, or, to use his own words, of “His Prince,” proved not only disastrous to his followers, but fatal to himself. Mr Cameron’s great grandfather, Dugald McDugald, followed him at Preston Pans, where he fell after cutting to pieces with his broadsword many of the muskets of the enemy. His grandfather fell at Culloden, and his father died at the age of eighty-eight. His family consisted of eleven sons and three daughters. Charles was mortally wounded with Abercromby in Egypt. Alexander served in Holland, and was paymaster of the regiment. Dugald served in Ireland, and was cut down by a cannon-ball while engaged with the French. The regiment lost its colours, but next day the whole of the French were made prisoners, and the colours recovered. Evan and John served with Fassifern, in the 92nd Highlanders, all through the Peninsula War and at Waterloo, where they fell with their chief. One settled in America; two others came with John to New Zealand. One of them, Allan, was considered the most powerful and best built man in Wellington. Angus died in Turakina, aged eighty-four, the other died in the Highlands. Mr Cameron was accompanied to New Zealand by his wife, seven sons, and two daughters, who with four of the sons survive him. They are all settled in the neighbourhood of Turakina, where, with their families, they may form the nucleus of a clan wealthier, if not so powerful or so warlike as their forefathers.

As noted in the newspaper article quoted above, there is a suggestion that two brothers of John Cameron also emigrated to New Zealand, including Allan Cameron, who came out on the Blenheim (see Allan Cameron and Janet Grant), and an Angus Cameron, who died in Turakina aged 84. The passenger list does not refer to any relationship between the families, unlike that referred to in the comments on Donald Cameron and Ewen Cameron, both of Trislaig, which identified them as brothers, or between Dugald Cameron of Glenmore and his brother Duncan, who did not embark. Possibly this was because unlike the others referred to, John and Allan Cameron were not personally known to Donald McDonald, and in any event, Allan Cameron did not appear on the main list in which comments were made. However, in The History of the Camerons of Springhill, material from Robert Cameron’s journal in describing the voyage of the Blenheim, refers to advice he received from his father’s cousin, Charles Cameron, who was around 18 at the time of the voyage. The fact that both families were involved in the illicit distillation of spirits, one in Turakina and the other in Gollans Valley might also suggest a common heritage. The evidence is less clear in relation to Angus Cameron, who emigrated on the John McVicar in 1857 with his wife and two of his children, and was joined at Turakina in 1864 by his older son Duncan and his family. Angus Cameron was in fact 80 when he died, and his parents were Angus Cameron and Annie (or Mary) McMillan, which would mean at the least a different mother from John Cameron. The newspaper obituary for Angus Cameron in the Wanganui Chronicle of 6 June 1876, and family references, do suggest a relationship, but its nature cannot be confirmed as necessarily familial.

John Cameron

The Old Parish Register for Morvern recorded that to John Cameron, residenter, Achnagauna, and Janet McGregor a lawful son John was born on 6 January 1816.

The Blenheim passenger list had John Cameron as a ploughman of 26.

On 25 September 1855 John Cameron married Mary (Robertson) Cameron, formerly Mitchell, widow of Donald Cameron.  Donald Cameron, the son of Donald Cameron and Mary McPherson, was also on the Blenheim.

Mary (Robertson) Cameron, formerly Mitchell, died on 5 June 1887.  Her death registration noted that she was 66, her father was Alexander Robinson, carrier, she was born in Scotland and had been in New Zealand for 40 years, and was married in Wanganui to John Cameron.  She had three female children living, aged 30, 28 and 27.  The cause of death was dropsy.  There was no reference to any of her other marriages.

John and Mary had three children:

  • Margery (Mysie) McGregor Cameron, born in 1856, died in 1915, married Robert James McAlley in 1883.
  • Janet Robertson Cameron, born in 1859, married Thomas Reid Dodson in 1886.
  • Frances Mitchell Cameron, born in 1861, died in 1936, married James Alexander Bailey in 1882.
Angus Cameron

Angus Cameron was described as a labourer of 24 on the Blenheim passenger list.

Angus was apparently drowned in Lake Wairarapa.

Charles Cameron

The Old Parish Register for Morvern records that to John Cameron, residenter, Achnagauna, and Janet McGregor a lawful son “John” was born on 14 September 1820.  While the name given is not Charles, the rest of the facts appear to fit, so perhaps there was a mistake somewhere along the line.

Charles Cameron was a labourer of 20 when he sailed to New Zealand on the Blenheim in 1840.

Charles Cameron married Catherine McKinnon on 1 January 1860.

Catherine McKinnon was born around 1833 in Morvern, Argyll, Scotland.

Charles Cameron
Charles Cameron

Charles Cameron appears to have led a busy and eventful life, with frequent appearances in court disputes, active in local affairs, a range of sporting and cultural activities, and a successful  farmer and cattle-breeder.   In Early Rangitikei , Sir James Wilson in writing about Turakina settlers noted, “One of the most familiar figures was ‘Charlie Cameron,’  who for long was in partnership with Mr Alick Simpson.  Mr Cameron had ‘got’ the Gaelic: he died quite lately, over eighty years of age.  A fine stamp of a hardy old Highlander.”

In 1869 Charles Cameron faced a charge of  the illicit distillation of spirits. In April 1869 police found a still on Charles Cameron’s property in the Turakina Valley and initially charged John Cameron, senior, and Ewen (Hugh) McIntosh, but these charges were withdrawn and new charges brought against Charles and Dugald Cameron.  The Wanganui Herald of 28 May 1869 reported on the outcome of a hearing before the Resident Magistrates Court in the case of Collector of Customs v Chas. and Dugald Cameron. The Resident Magistrate, Walter Buller, Esq., noted that the Distillation Act carried a presumption that if an unlicensed still was found on the certain premises then guilty knowledge on the part of the owner of the premises is presumed, and a conviction must follow, but the Act enabled the Court to give the accused the benefit of any doubt that might exist as to any real complicity in the offence by allowing a very wide discretion as to the measure of punishment, ranging from a fine of £50 to a term of imprisonment. In the present case, the Magistrate noted, there was no direct evidence before the Court to connect the defendants with the illicit distillation that had been carried on, or with any participation in the profits arising therefrom, and he therefore fined each defendant £50 and a moiety of costs.  An appeal against the conviction failed.

Charles Cameron died on 12 February 1909, aged 89. The Wanganui Herald of 13 February 1909 carried the Death Notice: “Cameron – On the 12th inst., at the residence of his son-in-law (Mr W. Chapman Fordell), Charles Cameron, native of Morven, Scotland; aged 89 years.” The Wanganui Herald of 12 February 1909 carried the following obituary:

Mr Charles Cameron, of Wangaehu
It is with sincere regret that we have to record the death of another of our sturdy old pioneers in the person of Mr Charles Cameron, of Ratamapua, Wangaehu, and formerly of Invermarlie, Turakina. The deceased gentleman, who was the eldest son of the late John Cameron, of the Turakina Valley, was in his ninetieth year, and enjoyed excellent health up to within a few days of his death, in fact he rode up to Fordell, and came on to town on the morning of the Caledonian sports on January 22nd last, and as usual took a prominent part in the day’s proceedings. But he had, nevertheless, a presentment that the sands of time had nearly run their course with him, and, in bidding good-bye to many of his old cronies, he said he felt that that was his last outing, and that they must not forget him when next they met, as he would then be “a silent member of a doleful cortege.” On his return journey home, not feeling well, he stayed with Mrs Wm. Chapman, Fordell, where he passed away after a few days’ illness. The deceased was a true type of a real old Hielan’ Laird, a man of sterling integrity whose word was his bond. Hospitable almost to a fault, his door was always open, and no one ever passed his home without being asked to come in and have a meal and a night’s lodging if necessary. He was a man of the most genial disposition, but he lacked not the Highland temper, and he proved a doughty warrior when any man dared to disparage the men of Auld Scotia. But quick as he was to anger as quick was he to shake hands and be friends again, and all those who had the pleasure of sharing in that friendship might well be proud of knowing one who was always a friend, come weal or woe. The “Commodore” as he was familiarly called by the old identities will be greatly missed by his large circle of friends and relatives, and to all the latter we beg to tender our deepest sympathy. The late Mr Cameron leaves a widow and grown up family, among whom are Mrs James Higgie (Okoia), Mrs William Chapman (Fordell), Mr D. Cameron (Fordell) and Mrs Charles Cameron, jnr. (Turakina Valley), also a number of grand-children besides a brother (Mr Dougald Cameron), and a sister (Mrs Cumberland McDonell) and a very large circle of near relatives to mourn his loss.

The Wanganui Chronicle of 16 February 1909 published a report of the funeral:

There was an exceedingly large attendance of mourners at the funeral of the late Mr Charles Cameron, of Wangaehu Valley, which took place on Sunday. The remains were conveyed from Fordell to Turakina, and amongst vehicles which followed were two brakes containing some twenty-six members of the Wanganui Caledonian Society, which body the deceased had been prominently connected since its inauguration thirty years ago. A very large number of settlers followed the procession, which was about a mile in length. As the procession wended its way past the house to the main road, on past Wangaehu, and again on arrival at Turakina, the laments “The Land of Leal,” “Lord Lovett’s Lament,” “Flowers of the Forest,” were played by Pipers Mackenzie Forbes, C. McDonald, and Muirhead. There was a very large crowd of sorrowing friends waiting the arrival of the cortege in Turakina. The service at the house was conducted by the Rev. Mr Ross, that at the graveside by the Rev. R. McCully. The pall-bearers were the following members of the Caledonian Society:—Messrs T. Copeland, Jas. Dempsey, R. G. McNiven, D. Stewart, A. Strachan, and D. Urquhart. Many handsome wreaths were laid on the grave, one of the most noticeable being that sent by the Wanganui Caledonian Society. This wreath was a magnificent one and was finished with Cameron tartan.

Catherine (McKinnon) Cameron died on 1 June 1917, aged 84.  The Wanganui Chronicle of 2 June 1917 carried the Death Notice: “Cameron – On the 1st inst., at Okoia, Catherine, widow of the late Charles Cameron, aged 84 years.”

Charles and Catherine had six children:

  • John Cameron, born in 1861.
  • Duncan Cameron, born in 1863, married Eliza McDonell (cousin) in 1888.
  • Elizabeth Cameron, born in 1864, died in 1906, married John Baldwin (cousin) in 1888.
  • Janet Cameron, born in 1866, died in 1959, married James Higgie in 1884.
  • Sarah Cameron, born in 1868, died in 1913, married William Chapman in 1891.
  • Charles Cameron, born in 1873, died in 1969, married Jessie Paton Templeton Robson in 1908.
Duncan Cameron

The Old Parish Register for Morvern recorded that to John Cameron, residenter, Achnagauna, and Janet McGregor a lawful son Duncan was born on 23 July 1823.

Duncan Cameron was a cowherd of 17 on the Blenheim passenger list.

Duncan Cameron was apparently drowned in Cook Strait

Allan Cameron

The Old Parish Register for Morvern recorded that to John Cameron, Achnagaune and Janet McGregor, a lawful son Allan was born on 19 September 1825.

Allan Cameron was a cowherd of 15 when he emigrated to New Zealand on the Blenheim in 1840.

Allan Cameron, farmer, died on 24 October 1895 at Mangahoe, aged 70.  His death registration noted that his parents were John Cameron, farmer, and Janet McGregor; he was born in Morvern, Argyllshire, Scotland and had been in New Zealand for 55 years; and was unmarried.  The cause of death was asthma and old age.

Anne Cameron

The Old Parish Register for Morvern recorded that to John Cameron, residenter, Achnagaune, and Janet McGregor, a lawful daughter Anne was born on 23 March 1828.

Anne Cameron was 12 years old when she accompanied her family on the Blenheim in 1840.

Anne Cameron married Francis Baldwin on 13 August 1852.

Francis Baldwin was born around 1823 in Brighton, Sussex, England

Francis Baldwin died on 10 March 1904.  The Wanganui Herald of 10 March 1904 carried the Death Notice: “Baldwin – At St John’s Hill, at the residence of his daughter, Mrs H Earle; Francis Baldwin, of Turakina Valley; aged 81 years.  Died March 10 1904.”  The Wairarapa Times of 14 March 1904 reported, “The death is announced in the Wanganui papers of Mr Francis Baldwin, a well-known old colonist, at the age of 81.  He was for some time the proprietor of the Red Lion Hotel, and was well-known to many old Wairarapa settlers.  At one time, – away back in the sixties – he was engaged in shipping cattle from Wanganui to Auckland, and bringing back sheep.”

Anne (Cameron) Baldwin died on May 1908.  The Wanganui Chronicle of 22 May 1908 carried the following Death Notice: “Baldwin – On the 21st inst., at the residence of Mr A. Smith, Wilson Street, Anne, relict of the late Francis Baldwin, aged 82 years. Interment at Turakina.” The Wanganui Herald of 23 May 1908 carried the following obituary:

It is with regret that we have to announce the death of another of our pioneers in the person of Mrs. Frank Baldwin, Senr., of the Turakina Valley, who passed away peacefully on Thursday last, at the residence of her daughter, Mrs. A. Smith, Wilson Street, Wanganui, at the ripe old age of 82. The deceased lady was a daughter of the late Mr. John Cameron, of Turakina Valley, and sister of Mr. Charles Cameron, of Invermallie. The late Mrs. Baldwin was a native of Morven, Argyleshire, and came to the colony with her parents in 1840, and shared all the vicissitudes of the early settlers, eventually settling down in the Turakina Valley, where she has resided for the better part of half a century. The late Mrs. Baldwin leaves a family of two sons, Messrs. John and Frank Baldwin, and four daughters, Mesdames Smith, Earles, Land [sic], and Miss Baldwin, besides a number of grandchildren, to mourn her loss. The deceased lady was a quiet, unassuming character, and endeared herself to all her friends by her hospitality and her many unostentatious acts of kindness, and of the many hundreds of people who have travelled up and down the Valley, no one was ever known to leave the hospitable roof of Mrs. Baldwin without partaking of her good cheer. The present generation have little knowledge of the hardships and privations of the sturdy pioneers who paved the way for them. They had to bear the heat and burden of the day, and it is with deep regret that we see the ranks of these good old folk depleted by the relentless hand of Death. To the bereaved family we tender our deepest sympathy. The funeral will take place to-morrow (Sunday), reaching the Turakina Cemetery at 2 p.m.

Anne and Francis had at least seven children:

  • John Baldwin, born in 1852, died in 1922, married (1) Elizabeth (Betsy) Cameron (cousin) in 1888, and (2) Rubina May Cowie in 1909.
  • Janet Baldwin, born in 1854, died in 1927, married Henry Earles in 1875.
  • Mary Anne Baldwin, born in 1856, died in 1930, married Alfred Mozart Smith in 1879.
  • Duncan Baldwin, born in 1858, died in 1859.
  • Maria Baldwin, born in 1861, died in 1920, married Charles Laird in 1881.
  • Francis Baldwin, born in 1863, died in 1931.
  • Elizabeth Catherine Baldwin, born in 1870, died in 1923.
Archibald Cameron

Archibald Cameron was 9 years old when he sailed to New Zealand on the Blenheim in 1840.

After trying the Wairarapa, the family had moved to Porirua before taking up land in the Rangitikei district.  Archibald had a position in the commissary of the Porirua barracks, and did not immediately move to Turakina with them.  In Poyntzfield, Eliza McKenzie recalls their family leaving Porirua for Turakina at the end of 1850, “Everything was ready at last, and we were to begin our journey on Monday morning, by being rowed across ‘The Ferry’.  Archie Cameron who lived at Pahatanui near the barracks, because he had something to do with the Commissariat, had arranged to come and take us across in his big boat.  He arrived soon after sunrise – looking as I see now, the impersonation of that early summer morning, so handsome, so happy, so full of life, and with a voice to match. ”

Archibald Cameron married Mary Laird on 4 August 1858.

Archibald Cameron
Archibald Cameron

Archibald Cameron took over the Glenmore property from his father. He suffered a fall from a horse in 1867 which affected his mobility, but went ahead and purchased a section in the Paraekaraetu Block at Hunterville, called Mangahoe. He was active in local affairs, being a member of the Rangitikei County Council and the Rangitikei Highway Board.

Mary (Laird) Cameron died on 21 January 1902. The Wanganui Chronicle carried the Death Notice: “Cameron – On January 21, 1902, at Mangahoe, Mary, the beloved wife of Mr Archibald Cameron, aged 66 years.”

The New Zealand Tablet of 30 January 1902 published the following obituary:

MRS. CAMERON, MANGAHOE. I deeply regret (writes our Wanganui correspondent) to record the death of Mrs. Archibald Cameron, of Mangahoe, which occurred very suddenly on Monday morning of last week. Mrs. Cameron, who was 66 years of age, was the daughter of one of those gallant Irish soldiers who have done so much to build up the Empire. Her husband, Mr. Arch. Cameron, is one of the most respected settlers on this coast. He and his wife were always regarded as perfect land marks of hospitality in the early days on the West Coast of this island. We can only give expression to the hope (says the Chronicle) that the rapidly-thinning rank of these forceful and hospitable pioneers, such as the lady whose death we announce to-day, may be filled by successors worthy of the early settlers of this colony. A grown-up family of four sons and four daughters is left to mourn the loss of a good mother. R.I.P.

Archibald Cameron died just two months later on 19 March 1902 at Mangahoe, Hunterville. The Wanganui Chronicle carried the Death Notice: “Cameron – At Mangahoe, Hunterville, on the 19th of March, Archibald Cameron, aged 74 years. Deeply regretted.” The Wanganui Chronicle of 21 March 1902 published the following obituary:

MR. ARCHIBALD CAMERON
It is with deep regret that we have to chronicle the death of one of Wanganui’s old identities, in the person of Mr. Archibald Cameron, of Paraekaraetu, who passed away at his residence, Mangahoe. on Thursday last, at the advanced age of 74 years. The deceased gentleman had only been pre-deceased by his wife by a few weeks, and since her death his strength had gradually failed him until he succumbed on Thursday afternoon. The deceased was third son of the late John Cameron, of Turakina. He landed in the colony when quite a boy, and passed the greater part, of his life on the west coast of the North Island. Some forty years ago he took up his residence in the Turakina Valley, and in the olden days, when the hospitality of the pioneers was proverbial, no more hospitable roof welcomed the stranger than that of Glenmore. Some thirty years ago Mr. Cameron met with a serious accident through a fall from a horse, which deprived him of the use of his limbs to a great extent, but the indomitable pluck of the man was such that notwithstanding his infirmity, he was one of the first to take up land in the Paraekaraetu Block, a then unknown country, and buying a large block of country at Mangahoe, took up bis residence there. For many years he took a foremost part in every movement for the advancement of the country and progress of the district, and was for many years a member of the Rangitikei County Council. Of late years increasing infirmity compelled him to forsake the more active pursuits, and leasing his properties to his sons, he has lived a retired life at Mangahoe. His death removes another old land mark from our midst, and many will miss his cheery manner and kindly disposition. Although a martyr to infirmity, his indomitable courage was such that he always looked at the happy side of things, was ever ready to say a kind word, and do a kindly act. He was a man of the greatest integrity, whose word was his bond, and who always enjoyed the utmost respect of all those who knew him or had the pleasure of coming in contact with him. He leaves a grown up family of four sons and four daughters to mourn their loss—namely, Mr. William Cameron, of Waituna; Mr. Archibald Cameron, of Mangahoe; Mr. John Cameron, of Glenorchy; and Mr. Hugh Cameron, of Glenmore; Mrs. Balmer, Mrs. J. Morgan, Mrs. W. Simpson, and Miss Cameron, to whom we tender our deepest sympathy. The funeral will take place this afternoon, and will reach the town bridge at 2 p.m.

Archibald and Mary had eight children:

  • William John Cameron, born in 1859, died in 1930, married Margaret Eleanor Cameron in 1882.
  • Mary Bridget Cameron, born in 1861, died in 1937, married John Duncan Cameron Balmer in 1886.
  • Janet Agnes Cameron, born in 1863, died in 1932, married John Charles Morgan in 1886.
  • Archibald Cameron, born in 1865, married Catherine Euphemia Gair in 1906.
  • Catherine Cameron, born in 1868, married William Simpson in 1890.
  • John Cameron, born in 1870.
  • Hugh Joseph Cameron, born in 1874, died in 1957, married Helen Jane Spurdle in 1899.
  • Elizabeth Cameron, born in 1877.
Dugald Cameron

The Old Parish Register for Morvern recorded that to John Cameron, crofter, Achnagauna, and Janet McGregor a lawful son Dugald was born on 15 June 1833.

Dugald Cameron married Margaret Mitchell on 27 January 1862.

In 1869 Dugald, with his brother Charles, was tried and convicted of keeping an illicit still (see above under Charles Cameron for details).

Dugald Cameron died on 17 February 1919.  The Death Notice in the Wanganui Chronicle of 18 February 1919 said: “Cameron – On the 17th inst., at Wanganui, Dugald, son of the late John Cameron, Invermaillie, Turakina Valley; aged 86 years.”  The death registration noted that he died at 1 Parnell Street, Wanganui, from Turakina Valley, and that he was a farmer.  His parents were John Cameron, farmer and Janet McGregor; he was born in Scotland and had been in New Zealand for 79 years; was married in Turakina when he was about 32 to Maggie Mitchell, now deceased, and there was no living issue.

Dugald and Margaret may have had children who did not live beyond infancy:

  • Janet McGregor Cameron, born in 1866, died in 1867.
  • Annie Cameron, born in 1868.
  • Annie Cameron, born in 1877.
Marjory (Mysie) Cameron

The Old Parish Register for Morvern recorded that to John Cameron, labourer, Achranich, and Janet McGregor a lawful daughter “Mary” was born on 9 July 1835.

Marjory Cameron was 5 when she travelled to New Zealand on the Blenheim in 1840.

In Poyntzfield, Eliza McKenzie recalls their family leaving Porirua for Turakina,  “Mysie was Archie’s sister and housekeeper. (Their father was ‘Big John Cameron’ who with his family came out on the Blenheim with ours).  Mysie was more dignified than her close friend ‘Little Annie’ [Annie (Cameron) McDonald]; but scarcely less beloved, she was so kind.”

Marjory Cameron married Cumberland Reed Scott McDonell on 31 August 1858.

Cumberland Reed Scott McDonell was the son of Archibald McDonell and Annie McRae, and the younger brother of James McDonell, an early Rangitikei settler, who married Anne Cameron, daughter of Donald Cameron and Christian McLean, also Blenheim passengers.

In Early Rangitikei Sir James Wilson noted, “Mrs Cumberland McDonell was a daughter of big John Cameron, of Turakina, and was renowned as a rider.”

Cumberland Reed Scott McDonell died on 24 May 1907, aged 75. The Wanganui Chronicle of 25 May carried the Death Notice: “McDonell – On 24th May, at his residence, 25 Ingestre street, C.R.S. McDonell, aged 75 years. R.I.P.” The Wanganui Herald of 25 May 1907 reported:

Another of Wanganui’s oldest settlers has joined the great majority. Mr C. R. S. McDonell, one of the best known and most highly respected residents in the district, having died last night at the age of 75. The late Mr McDonell was a native of Invernesshire, Scotland, and came out to the colonies in 1852, settling in Victoria for a few years, and then coming on to New Zealand, taking up his residence in Wanganui. He engaged in contracting for some time, and then purchased the Red Lion Hotel, which he conducted for some years. He subsequently owned hotels in Bulls and Turakina, and then entered into farming pursuits in the Turakina district. Two years ago his health failed, and he came into Wanganui to reside. His many friends will regret to hear of his death, and keen sympathy will be felt towards his family – three sons and four daughters in their bereavement.

Marjory (Cameron) McDonell died on 21 October 1914, aged 79. The Wanganui Chronicle carried the Death Notice: “McDonell – On the 21st inst., at her residence, No. 27 Ingestre Street, Marjory, relict of the late Cumberland McDonell, aged 70 years. R.I.P.”

Mysie and Cumberland had at least ten children (there may have been others who died in infancy):

  • Kate McDonell, born in 1858, died in 1921.
  • Janet McGregor McDonell, born in 1859, died in 1941, married James Campion (son of Blenheim passenger) in 1883.
  • Eliza McDonell, born in 1861, died in 1896, married Duncan Cameron (cousin) in 1888.
  • John McDonell, born in 1865, died in 1892, married Helen Brookie in 1891.
  • Cumberland Reed Scott McDonell, born in 1866, died in 1866.
  • Annie McDonell, born in 1867, died in 1943, married Francis Herbert Cane in 1894.
  • Charles McDonell, born in 1871, died in 1943, married Mary Sarah Smith in 1895.
  • Alexander Cumberland Reed Scott McDonell, born in 1872, died in 1941, married (1) Margaret Clifford Lucy McDonald in 1899, and (2) Flora Cameron in 1910.
  • Flora McDonell, born in 1875, died in 1954.
  • Mysie McDonell, born in 1879, died in 1946.

Sources:

Photographs:

  • McPhail/McLachlan/Cameron Album: Charles Cameron; Archibald Cameron

Ewen Cameron and Maria Colquhoun

This family were noted as coming from Trishilaig in the initial Blenheim passenger list, with Ewen being the brother to Donald Cameron, the subject of Donald McDonald’s comments, “This man and his family have been known to me all my life & are a very industrious family.  The same remark applies to his brother and his family who is next to him but one in this list, they have besides excellent Certificates.”

The large family was made up of:

  • Ewen Cameron, 50, tailor
  • Maria Colquhoun, his wife, 46
  • Mary Cameron, his daughter, 28, chambermaid
  • Flora Cameron, his daughter, 24, housemaid
  • Marjory Cameron, his daughter, 24, housemaid
  • Jane Cameron, his daughter,22, housemaid
  • John Cameron, his son, 20, shepherd – crossed out on initial list, and not included in subsequent lists
  • Charles Cameron, his son, 18, labourer
  • Sarah Cameron, his daughter, 16
  • Allan Cameron, his son, 14, cowherd
  • Donald Cameron, his son, 12, cowherd
  • Margaret Cameron, his daughter, 9
  • Anne Cameron, his daughter, 7
  • Catherine Cameron, his daughter, 4

Ewen and Maria’s son John Cameron did not travel on the Blenheim – he married Catherine Black in 1840. The Old Parish Register for Kilmallie (Argyll) for 1820 records that John Cameron, son of Ewen Cameron at Gearidh and Maria Colquhoun his spouse was born 4th and baptized 9th April.  John Cameron died on 16 December 1872 at Bailevolan, Lismore.  The registration in the parish of Lismore in the county of Argyll noted that he was a lime burner of 53, married to Catherine Black, and his parents were Hugh Cameron, teacher, deceased, and Sarah Colquhoun.  The informant was his son, Hugh Cameron.

Return to The Blenheim People.


Ewen Cameron and Maria Colquhoun

The Old Parish Register for Kilmallie (Inverness) for 1783 recorded the birth of Ewen Cameron, son to Angus Cameron and Mary Cameron, Corvig, on 11 June.

The Old Parish Register for Kilmallie (Inverness) recorded the marriage on 28 February 1811 of Ewen Cameron and Maria Colquhoun, at Inverscaddle.

Information from the birth registrations of their children shows that Ewen and Maria lived in Ardgour, the southern part of the Kilmallie parish to the west of Loch Eil.   Inverscaddle was at the mouth of Glenscaddle, north of the Corran Ferry, and Gerridh was to the south, on Linnhe Loch.  Despite the notation in the Blenheim passenger list, it does not appear that they lived at Trislaig, which was at the northern end of Ardgour, opposite Fort William.

Ewen Cameron was actually 57 when he sailed on the Blenheim. A record of Maria’s birth has not been confirmed.

Ewen Cameron, sometimes known as Hugh Cameron, lived in Kaiwarra and worked as a tailor, as confirmed by Juror lists.

The New Zealand Spectator and Cook’s Strait Guardian of 9 December 1848 reported the death of Ewen Cameron as follows:

A fatal accident occurred on Wednesday last to Mr. Ewen Cameron, who resided on the road to Kaiwarra. On his return home about eight o’clock in the evening, in walking too near the edge of the steep ravine or gulley in front of his house his foot unfortunately slipped, and he fell head foremost, and his head striking a projecting piece of rock he was killed on the spot. The body was discovered by his family the next morning lying in the ravine. An inquest was held on the body by Dr. Fitzgerald the Coroner, yesterday, when a verdict of Accidental Death was returned. The deceased was very much and deservedly respected as an honest man and an industrious settler, and had brought up a very numerous family with great credit and propriety.

As recorded in Poyntzfield, Eliza McKenzie recalling her Kaiwarra memories, wrote, “By far the most tremendous episode of that period was the death of ‘Cameron, the Tailor’. He was found dead on the rocky path leading up from the beach to his house. Inquiries showed that he had left the ‘Highlander Inn’ at about nine in the evening and was not seen again alive. He had evidently slipped in the darkness, and struck his head against the wall of rock bordering the way.”

After Ewen’s death most of the younger members of the family appear to have moved to Auckland with their sister Jane and brother-in-law Alexander Alison, and where several of the daughters married mariners. In 1861 Sarah and Catherine went to the Otago goldfields with their husbands, apparently taking their aged mother with them, because Maria Cameron died at Blue Spur, Otago, on 28 December 1874. Blue Spur was in Tuapeka County, near Lawrence.

The Tuapeka Times of 7 January 1874 carried the Death Notice: “Cameron – On the 28th December, at the residence of James Campbell, Blue Spur, Maria Cameron, relict of the late Ewen Cameron, of Kaiwarra, Wellington.”  The death registration contains no information, other than the date of death, her name and age, 85, and cause of death, “old age”.  The informant was the local undertaker.

Mary Cameron

The Old Parish Register for Kilmallie (Argyll), records that Mary, daughter of Ewen Cameron and Peggy Colquhoun of Glenscaddle, was baptized on 24 January 1812.

Mary Cameron was described as a chambermaid of 28 in the Blenheim passenger list.

New Zealand BDM records show the marriage on 5 February 1841 of Mary Cameron and Peter McGrigor, barely six weeks after the arrival of the Blenheim.

The New Zealand Colonist and Port Nicholson Advertiser of 16 August 1842 reported on a narrow escape from drowning, “Last Thursday, a boat laden with wood from Petoni, bound for Te Aro, with Charles Cameron, Peter M’Gregor, and a sailor; it was blowing very hard at the time and the boat being deeply laden, Cameron recommended M’Gregor not to leave, and if he did he might go by himself, as he (Cameron) would walk it, M’Gregor said he would chance it and left accordingly with the other boatman. They proceeded as far as Ngaurangi in safety, when a gust of wind upset the boat, and the men were thrown into the sea, the upper part of the cargo being washed away, the boat again righted, and the men got into her, although she was full of water, and were drifting out to sea all night, sometimes clinging to the outside of the boat, being frequently washed overboard. About nine o’clock the following morning, some natives rescued them from a watery grave, near Barrett’s reef, and brought them ashore more dead than alive. ”  It is not known if the Charles Cameron referred to was Peter McGregor’s brother-in-law.

Peter M’Gregor, Kai Warra, road, labourer, was on the list of prospective jurors for Port Nicholson in 1845.

The New Zealand Spectator and Cook’s Strait Guardian of 15 July 1846 carried the Death Notice: “Died – on Saturday, the 11th inst., Mary, the wife of Mr. P. M’Gregor, and eldest daughter of Mr. Ewen Cameron, Tailor, of Kai Wara.”

Mary and Peter appear to have had one child:

  • Mary McGregor, born in 1842.

Little further information has been established for Peter McGregor or his daughter Mary. However, Margaret Perry, in her diary covering the period between 1865 and 1867, in talking about her Auntie (Marjory Cameron, see below), mentioned a Dan Richardson who had married a niece of Auntie’s and she had died.  A Daniel Richardson married a Mary McGregor on 2 April 1861. A Mary Richardson died on 7 March 1865 aged 22. A child, Ellen Mary Richardson, daughter of Daniel and Mary Richardson, was born on 17 September 1864 and died on 18 January 1865, aged 4 months.

Flora Cameron

In the Blenheim passenger list, Flora was described as a housemaid of 26, suggesting that her birth was probably in 1814.

Flora Cameron and Thomas Ritchie Simson were married on 3 October 1844 in Wellington.  The New Zealand Spectator and Cook’s Strait Guardian of 19 October 1844 included the Notice: “Married – On the 3rd instant, by the Rev. J. Macfarlane, Mr Thomas Richie Simpson, formerly of Glasgow, to Flora, daughter of Hugh Cameron, formerly of Ardgour, Invernesshire.”

It seems from Electoral Roll records that the Simsons farmed at Turakina for a period, but by the time of their mother’s death in 1886 the sons had moved to Opunake, although their father was in Wanganui.

The Hawera and Normanby Star of 26 November 1886 included the Death Notice: “Simson – on the 21st instant, at the residence of her sons, Taungatara, near Opunake, Flora, the beloved wife of Mr Thomas R Simson.  She was the second daughter of Mr Hugh Cameron of Kaiwarra, Wellington, who has long preceded her to the grave.  The family arrived in Wellington in 1840; and she has passed away at the age of 66 years.”

Thomas Ritchie Simson died in 1907 aged 88, at Wanganui Hospital.  The Wanganui Herald of 3 September 1907 carried the Death Notice: “Simson – At the Wanganui Hospital, on Sunday, 1st September, Thomas Simson, aged 88 years.”.

Flora and Thomas had at least two children:

  • Charles Simson, born in 1849.
  • David Cameron Simson, born in 1851, died in 1901, married Elizabeth Putt in 1888.
Marjory Cameron

Marjory (Mysie) Cameron was described as a housemaid of 24 in the Blenheim passenger list., indicating she was born around 1816.

Marjory Cameron married John McQuarrie in 1844.  John McQuarrie, son of Donald McQuarrie and Margaret McEachern, was also on board the Blenheim, described as a joiner of 18. The New Zealand Gazette and Wellington Spectator of 3 January 1844 carried the Married Notice: “On the 1st inst., by the Rev. John Macfarlane, Mr John M’Quarrie, formerly of Invernessshire, carpenter, to Marjory, daughter of Mr Hugh Cameron, formerly of Ardgone, Argyleshire, now of Wellington.”

Marjory Cameron was the “Auntie” referred to in Margaret Perry’s diaries. The couple moved to Rangitikei, and Margaret Perry wrote, “I used very often go and stop with Uncle and Auntie in the Valley, Uncle like all the McQuarries used to drink heavily; when he would come home, he was a perfect madman, he would set to work and throw chairs tables and crockery outside the door, Auntie and I used to run and hide, in the bush till the storm was over and all was quiet, then we would go in and find him fast asleep; then we would set to work and gather up the pieces and put all straight.  After a while they left the Valley, and went to live in a four-roomed cottage in Turakina.  Uncle got very ill and the doctors told him that drink was killing him.”

John McQuarrie died on 10 December 1865.  Mysie McQuarrie married George Perry on 14 February 1867.

According to New Zealand BDM records, Marjory Perry died on 26 March 1903 aged 87.  Her death registration indicates that she was a widow, and died at Devonport from heart failure and senility.  Her parents were listed as Hugh Cameron, tailor, and her mother’s maiden surname was Colquhoun.  Marjory was born in Argyleshire and had been in New Zealand for 63 years.  She was married first in Wellington to Hugh [sic] McQuarrie when she was 22, and secondly in Turakina to George Perry.  There were no living children.  The informant was W H Burgess, authorised agent.  William Henry Burgess was Marjory’s brother-in-law, the widower of her sister Margaret.

Jane Cameron

Jane Cameron was listed as a housemaid of 22 when she travelled on the Blenheim in 1840.

The New Zealand Spectator and Cook’s Strait Guardian of 22 November 1845 contained the Marriage Notice: Married, on the 17th November instant, Mr Alexander Allison, formerly of Inverness, Shipwright, now of H.M. Colonial Brig “Victoria,” to Jane, third daughter of Mr Ewen Cameron, formerly of Ardgour, Agyleshire.”

Alexander Alison was a ship’s carpenter who came to Nelson in the early 1840s.  The family moved to Auckland in 1848, settling in Devonport in 1854, where Alexander continued his trade as a boat-builder.

Alexander Alison died in 1887.  The New Zealand Herald of 27 June 1887 carried the following obituary:

DEATH OF MR. A. ALISON, SEN.
It is with much regret we have to announce the decease of another of the old identities of Auckland, in the person of Mr. Alexander Alison, sen., who has been ailing for some weeks past, and who died peacefully at his residence, Devonport, yesterday morning, at half-past eleven, at the advanced age of 7S years. The deceased gentleman, who was a native of Inverness, Scotland, arrived at Nelson some fifty years ago, but shortly afterwards chose Auckland as his place of residence, and has lived at Devonport over thirty years. The deceased was a man of sterling qualities, of a warm-hearted and genial disposition, and highly respected by a wide circle of friends. He leaves a widow and three sons, each of whom are grown up and married, and hold prominent positions, to mourn his loss. The funeral is announced to take place at Devonport to-morrow (Tuesday), at three o’clock.

The New Zealand Herald of 6 February 1893 carried the Death Notice: “Alison – On Saturday, February 4 1893, at her late residence, Beach Road, Devonport, Jane, relict of the late Alexander Alison, Esq., aged 78 years. Interred at Devonport Cemetery.”

Jane and Alexander had at least four children who lived beyond infancy:

  • Alexander Alison, born in 1846, died in 1923, married Annie Stokoe in 1868.
  • Roderick Alison, born in 1850, died in 1882.
  • Ewen William Alison, born in 1852, died in 1945, married Mary Ann Coleman in 1876.
  • Duncan Donald Tobias Alison, born in 1856, died in 1935, married Emma Lyons in 1884.

The New Zealand Dictionary of Biography has an entry for Ewen William Alison, noting that he was born in Auckland on leap day, 29 February 1852, the son of Jane Cameron and her husband Alexander Alison, a shipwright. At the age of 15 Ewen went off to look for gold in the Thames goldrush, and made sufficient money to join his brother in a butchery partnership in Devonport.  He went on to become a businessman involved in shipping and property, and was active in local and national government.  Ewen married Mary Ann Coleman on 26 July 1876, and they were to have four sons and two daughters.  His main claim to fame was to found and develop the Devonport Steam Ferry Company Limited, with his brother Alexander.  Ewen Alison died on 6 June 1945 at the age of 93.

Charles McLean Cameron

The Old Parish Register for Kilmallie (Argyll) for 1822, records the baptism of Charles McLean Cameron son to Ewen Cameron and Margaret Colquhoun in Gearidh on 28 July, born on 20th Curr. [of the current month].

In the Blenheim passenger list Charles McLean Cameron was described as a labourer of 18.

It seems that by the late-1840s Charles was travelling around New Zealand and was in partnership with Robert Waitt (who married Catherine McDonald) in a contract to supply British troops.  After working with John Wade at the Wellington Brewery, Charles established the Kaiwarra Brewery, but passed it on to his brother Allan, apparently when he took up trading with the Chatham Islands and then Australia.  He returned to New Zealand and purchased a farm at Karaka, near Auckland, but a letter from Duncan Campbell to his brother-in-law Donald McKinnon in July 1861 reported that “Charles Cameron sold his farm in New Zealand 2 years ago for £2,000 he went to Twofold Bay and he lost all.”

The John Cameron Letters include a letter from John Cameron of Marangai to Charles McL Cameron Esq., 35 Great Castle Street, W. London, dated 9 September 1882, which reads:

My Dear Charlie
Your letter of the 24 June I recd about a fortnight ago. I was delighted to hear from you and so was all your old friends and acquaintances about Turakino. We all thought that you had your departure taken to the other world long ago, never hearing from you. We are all much pleased to think that we were wrong, and that there is a chance of seeing you again. Well – in reply to your queries. Your sister that was married to John McQuarie is married again to a man named Perry and I believe is very comfortable I haven’t seen her for a long time. Hitherto they have been living at Turakino but I was told a few days ago that they had shifted down to near Rangatikei on the road to Bulls – I was told that he had taken a small farm there. Mrs Perry – near Bulls – Rangatikei – Wellington – N.Z. I think will find her – of your brother Donald I know nothing or next to nothing – I was asking Charlie Cameron a few days ago if he could tell me anything about him. He says that at one time he heard that he left Hokitika and went to Tauranga but that he heard afterwards that he went back again to Hokitika – that was all he could tell me about him. Of your cousins Donald Bane’s family there are only three of them alive Mrs Grant, Mrs McDonald and Mrs Brabason, all the sons are dead. The Grants have a very nice place at Turakino and are thoroughly independent, Alec McDonald and his family have a fine place on the Oroua Stream about halfway between the Rangitikei and Manawatu Rivers. This is all I know about your relations, of your other fellow passengers on the Blenheim there are several of them still in Turakino – Old John Cameron and wife only died last year within a few weeks of each other. I believe the old man was quite 100 years old – his eldest son John was killed by a tree falling on him when he was felling – Charlie and Archi have both got fine places in Turakino with large grown up famileis and thoroughly independent.
If you ever come to see us again you will find the country very much altered. We have a fine bridge across the Wanganui river opposite the centre of the Town. And a railway opening from Manawatu to Patea and will soon be open all the way to Waitara on the north side of New Plymouth. There is also a railway in course of being formed from Wellington to the Manawatu to join on to the New Plymouth railway, and there is a line to be taken somewhere from the West Coast right up through Taupo into the Waikato to join on to the Auckland railway. Altogehter the country is going ahead notwithstanding the very slack times that Farmers are having and all those public works going ahead make it all the wose for the poor Farmers for it helps to keep the price of labour up sa high as ever. Sheep and cattle are lower now than they have been for many years and the wool market is exceedingly low the lat sales were the lowest we have had for years notwithstanding which land keeps up its price – It is not unusual to hear of properties changing hands at from £10 to £20 an acre. We are looking forward to be able to get ris of our surplus beef and mutton by this freezing process several cargoes have been sent home with great success – some sent from Dunedin was sold in London as English Down mutton. Native difficulty I think is settled now I dont think there is much dange of any more disturbances of any consequence. We are geting too strong for them our volunteer and militia corps are well trained and well armed and amount in the agregate to several thousands and the Maories know it and are afraid of them. They are also wide awake enough to see that in all the wars they have had with Europeans that tho thye may occasionally have a success in the long run they have always the worst of it – they are beginning to find out there is more to be gained by legislating than fighting. Write me on receipt of this and let me know if there is any chance of your coming back to New Zealand, and as you say that tou are still a Batchelor you might be able to pick up a buxom hussey that would keep you comfortable in your old age.

It is not clear when Charles McLean Cameron returned to New Zealand.

The 1905-1906 Electoral Roll for Eden in Auckland, records Charles McLean Cameron, inmate, at Costley Home.  The Costley Home for the Aged Poor, was originally located within the Auckland Hospital grounds, but in 1890 moved to Epsom.

New Zealand BDM records have the death of a Charles McLean Cameron on 1 April 1909, aged 87.

Sarah Cameron

Sarah Cameron was 16 when she sailed on the Blenheim with her family.

In 1851, Sarah married Duncan Campbell, a master mariner.  The Wellington Independent of 27 September 1851 carried the notice: “Married – On the 29th inst., by license, at St Paul’s, by the Rev. J.F. Churton, Mr Duncan Campbell, of Auckland, to Sarah, fifth daughter of the late Mr. Ewen Cameron of Wellington. ”

Duncan Campbell was born in Perthshire, Scotland and was a half-brother of James Campbell who married Sarah’s sister Catherine Cameron.  It is not clear when he came to New Zealand.

In the early 1850s Duncan Campbell was the skipper of the Benlomond, a 35 ton schooner in the coastal trade. According to Electoral Roll records the family was living at Nelson Street, Auckland, in 1856.

It appears that the family moved to Gabriel’s Gully, Otago in 1861.

Sarah Campbell died on 24 February 1863 in Lawrence, Otago, a few weeks after giving birth to Mary.  The Daily Southern Cross of 21 March 1863 carried the following Death Notice: “On February 24th, at the Molyneux, Province of Otago, Sarah, the beloved wife of Mr Duncan Campbell. She leaves six children with her sorrowing husband to lament her loss.”

In 1872 Duncan Campbell was appointed to be teacher at the Tuapeka Mouth School.  An inspector’s report noted that he was untrained and only on trial, and it was doubtful if he would succeed as a teacher.  He then took up farming in the district.

Duncan Campbell died in October 1875.  He was found drowned in the Molyneux River in Otago.  The Tuapeka Times of 6 October 1875 reported:

MYSTERIOUS DISAPPEARANCE OF A SETTLER.
We learn that Mr. Duncan Campbell, settler at Tuapeka Mouth, has disappeared in rather a mysterious manner. It appears that on Sunday evening Mr. Campbell crossed a man from the west side of the river to Dalhousie, and remained with the boat whilst the passenger went up to the township, promising to return in a few minutes. The man was longer than he anticipated, and on his return to the river bank was surprised at not to find either the boat or Mr. Campbell who has not yet been seen or heard of. Search was made by the residents of Dalhouse without avail, and up to the hour of our going to press, neither Campbell nor the boat had been heard of. Mr. A. M’Beath gave information to the police last evening, and they started away to assist in the search.

The Tuapeka Times of 9 October 1875 was able to shed more light on the disappearance, noting that Duncan Campbell provided a ferry service and on the day in question had brought over two men then adjourned to public house at Tuapeka Mouth, and was observed as being “slightly the worse for liquor.” It appeared that he may have gone to sleep in the boat while awaiting the later passenger and been carried down by the current, and somehow fallen in the river. The report went on to note:

The missing-man was an old resident in the district having come from the North Island about the first the Gabriels Gully rush. He followed digging for sometime, and subsequently became a mining agent in Lawrence. Being a man of good education, and possessing a fair share of natural talent, he was subsequently appointed Schoolmaster at Tuapeka Mouth, a situation which he resigned only a few months ago, when he took to farming, following it up to the time of bis disappearance. He was well known throughout the district; his obliging disposition and genial character rendering him generally well liked in the place.
A correspondent writes: Not a few in and about the district of Gabriels will read with feelings of melancholy interest the circumstances attending the sad end of poor old Duncan Campbell. He was in many respects of the word a coupling link between New Zealand of the past and New Zealand of the present. The date of his advent in this colony is somewhat obscure, but it is understood he got here about the latter part of the decade ending ’30 or beginning of ’40. When I say here, I mean Auckland, as you must be aware the southern provinces were little known of in those primitive days. The last time I saw him was only a few weeks ago, and he then presented all the animated appearance of a hale hearty old man who had yet many days to live. Nothing delighted him better than to recall the old times and early associations, when British rule was to a great extent subservient to Maori custom. On the occasion to which I allude he was in company with another of the old New Zealand School a resident about Tokomairiro. To hear these two old “fogies” recite their early adventures in the Northern territory was a perfect treat. The name and surname of a leading minister of the Colonial Cabinet was mixed up with one of their exploits the burden of the narrative being that they had only one blue blanket amongst the three of them, and that thus gaudily attired they set out to pay court to a tatooed damsel, possessed of great personal attractions. The conclusions indulged in by these two worthies in drawing parallels between the third occupant of the blue blanket engaged upon this escapade, and his present occupation as leader of the House of Representatives, were whimsical in the extreme. With their recollection still fresh upon my memory the intelligence of his sad end comes home to me with all the force and effect of one of those rude shocks which teaches us too truly that in the midst of life we arc in death.

The Otago Daily Times of 24 November 1875 reported:

Our Lawrence correspondent inform us by telegraph that the body of Duncan Campbell was found on the bank of the river at the mouth of a small! creek 13 miles below Tuapeka Mouth by Mr John Tyson some days ago. The body was brought up to Tuapeka Mouth, an inquest was held by the Coroner, and a verdict returned, ”Found Drowned.” A large number of friends followed the remains to the Lawrence Cemetery.

Sarah and Duncan had at least seven children:

  • Margaret Campbell, born in 1852, died in 1917, married John Glass in 1871.
  • Maria Campbell, born in 1854, died in 1947, married Andrew McBeath in 1875.
  • Donald Campbell, born in 1855.
  • Duncan Campbell, born in 1857, died in 1938, married Mary McFadzien in 1885.
  • Euphemia Campbell, born in 1859, died in 1942, married George Anderson Laidlaw in 1879.
  • Sarah Campbell, born in 1862, died in 1862.
  • Mary Campbell, born in 1863, died in 1944, married William Rainsford Bennett in 1884.
Allan Cameron

The Old Parish Register for Kilmallie (Inverness) for baptisms from Corran in 1826, recorded the baptism on 3 September of Allan, son of Ewen Cameron and Maria Colquhoun in Girah, Ardgour, born on the 22nd of August.

On the passenger list for the Blenheim in 1840, Allan was described as a cowherd of 14.

The reference in Early Wellington to the death in 1846 of a son of Mr Hugh Cameron, who died of consumption, aged 21, which is confirmed by Bolton St Cemetery records, is not this Allan Cameron.  Advertisements in Wellington newspapers in 1850 show that “A D C Cameron” was taking over the Kaiwarra Brewery from his brother Charles.

Bolton St Cemetery records include a reference to “A I C Cameron”, but no further information has been established for Allan Cameron.

Donald Cameron

The Old Parish Register for Kilmallie (Argyll) in listing baptisms from Corran and Balacolish, recorded that Donald, son of Ewen Cameron and Maria Colquhoun in Ginah, was born on the 25th of December 1828 and baptised on 4 January 1829.

Donald Cameron was a cowherd of 12 in the Blenheim passenger list.

No further information has been established for Donald Cameron, apart from a suggestion that he may have gone to the Victorian goldfields.

Margaret Cameron

The Old Parish Register for Ballachulish and Corran of Ardgour recorded that Margaret, daughter of Ewen Cameron and Margaret Colqhuhon, Gearradh, was born 1st April 1831, and baptised on 24 April 1831.

Margaret Cameron was 9 when she travelled on the Blenheim with her family.

New Zealand BDM records show that Margaret Cameron married William Henry Burgess on 26 March 1862.

William Henry Burgess was the son of James William Burgess and Elizabeth Blackburn, and was born in London on 14 March 1834. He became a mariner, like his brother Isaac Burgess, who was the Auckland Harbourmaster for many years, and also lived on the North Shore.

Electoral Rolls for 1870-1876 show that William Henry Burgess lived at North Head, on Auckland’s North Shore, and from 1880 at Devonport, when his occupation was given as pilot, and mariner from 1890 to 1906.

According to New Zealand BDM records Margaret Burgess died on 18 November 1894, aged 60. The New Zealand Herald of 20 November carried the following Death Notice: “Burgess – On Sunday, November 18, at her residence, Devonport, Margaret, the beloved wife of Captain W.H.Burgess, aged 60 years.”

William Henry Burgess died on 8 March 1912, aged 77. The New Zealand Herald of 13 March 1912 carried the following obituary:

Captain William Henry Burgess, brother of the late Captain Isaac Burgess, for many years harbourmaster at Auckland, died at Devonport on Friday, in his 78th year. Born in Limehouse, London, in 1834 deceased, like his forefathers, took to the sea, and shipped as boy on the ship City of Poonah, bound for India. On his return he joined the barque Lord William Bentinck, which arrived in Auckland with troops on board on August 26, 1850. After serving in various capacities in the brigs Invincible and Kestrel, the steamer William Denny, and the brigantine Despatch, he entered the pilot service in 1858, remaining there until 1884 – a service of 26 years. Many of the early arrivals will remember Captain Burgess as being the first person they met in the new land, when he came aboard to pilot them in. After leaving the pilot service he served on the coast in the steamer Waitaki, and then in the Devonport lorry service. Retiring on account of ill-health he lived quietly at his home at Devonport. Captain Burgess passed through all the hardships of the early seafaring days, from ship’s boy to the holder of a deep sea ticket. At Parnell, in 1862, he was married to Margaret Cameron, of Argylshire, Scotland, by the Rev. Dr. Bruce. He leaves two sons, four daughters, and nine grandchildren.

Margaret and William had at least seven children:

  • Alice Maria Burgess, born in 1863, died in 1954, married Charles Frederick Taine in 1895.
  • Clara Margaret Burgess, born in 1865, died in 1950, married Henry Dugald McKellar in 1890.
  • William Isaac Burgess, born in 1866, died in 1869.
  • Flora Cameron Burgess, born in 1868, died in 1945 (Australia), married George William Phillips in 1905.
  • James William Burgess, born in 1870, died in 1952, married Bertha Lucie Barlow in 1904.
  • Maud Jane Burgess, born in 1871.
  • Herbert Donald Burgess, born in 1876, died in 1966.
Ann Cameron

The Old Parish Register for Ballachulish and Corran of Ardgour recorded that Ann, daughter of Ewen Cameron and Margaret Colqhuhoun, Gearrigh, was born on 8th April 1833, and baptised on 15 April 1833.

The Blenheim passenger list recorded Anne as 7 years old in 1840.

Annie Cameron, married Donald McLeod McKinnon in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, on 23 January 1853.

Donald McKinnon was born on the Isle of Skye, the son of Malcolm McKinnon and Euphemia McLeod.  The family emigrated to Australia on the Midlothian in 1837, and settled in the Maitland area of New South Wales. Donald went to school for a while before leaving to go to sea, working in the whaling industry off New Zealand, and presumably met Ann in Auckland, possibly through her brother-in-law Duncan Campbell.

Ann McKinnon died on 21 June 1881 at Wingham, NSW, aged 45.

Donald McKinnon died on 21 April 1891.  The Australian Town and Country Journal of 2 May 1891 carried the following Notice:

Taree – April 27th
Death.- On Tuesday morning, at his residence, Glen Ora, Clarksons Crossing, after a somewhat protracted illness, died Mr. Donald M’Leod M’Kinnon, at the age of 67 years. The deceased gentleman was a native of the Isle of Skye, Scotland, and had resided on the Manning from about 1856 until 1862, when he removed to the Walambra district, where he lived up to the time of his death.
His wife has been dead for several years, but four sons and daughters, all grown up, are left to mourn their loss. The departed gentleman was the father of Mr. Hugh M’Kinnon, commission agent, of Sydney, and was well known and much esteemed and respected.
The funeral, which was very largely attended, took place in the Taree Estate Cemetery, when the Rev. S. P. Stewart officiated at the grave.

Ann and Donald had at least eleven children:

  • Malcolm McKinnon, born in 1853, died in 1908, married Catherine Emily Brewer in 1887.
  • Hugh McKinnon, born in 1855, died in 1930.
  • Donald McLeod McKinnon, born in 1857, died in 1922, married Sarah Jane Cox in 1884.
  • Euphemia McKinnon, born in 1859, died in 1915, married Thomas Richard McCartney in 1883.
  • Charles William McKinnon, born in 1861, died in 1940, married Catherine Taylor in 1923.
  • John McKinnon, born in 1863, died in 1863.
  • Maria Flora McKinnon, born in 1864, died in 1935.
  • Ann McKinnon, born in 1867, died in 1952, married Henry Miles in 1902.
  • Harriet Frances McKinnon, born in 1870, died in 1948.
  • Mary Jane McKinnon, born in 1873, died in 1948.
  • Catherine Mary McKinnon, born in 1879, died in 1962, married Eric Hugh Stuart McMaster in 1911.
Catherine Cameron

Catherine Cameron was 4 years old when she sailed to New Zealand on the Blenheim.

The Daily Southern Cross of 21 April 1857 carried the Notice: “Married. At the North Shore, on the 16th instant, by the Rev. Mr Heywood, Mr James Campbell, youngest son of the late Mr Alexander Campbell, farmer, Dundaree, Grandtuly, Perthshire, Scotland, to Catherine Cameron, youngest daughter of the late Mr Ewen Cameron, of Wellington, N.Z.”

James Campbell was born in 1835 in Grandtuly, Perthshire, and was a half-brother to Duncan Campbell, who married Catherine’s sister Sarah.

The family was living in Whangaparoa, Auckland, and James was described as a farmer, when the first three children were born. They then moved to Gabriel’s Gully in Otago, and James Campbell was described as a miner in the birth registrations of his children.

Catherine Campbell died on 23 February 1898 at Gabriel’s Gully, Tuapeka, Otago.

James Campbell died on 22 October 1898 at Blue Spur, Otago, through the accidental discharge of a gun.

Catherine and James had at least eleven children:

  • James Campbell, born in 1857, died in 1882.
  • Charles Campbell, born in 1858, died in 1941, married Isobel Patterson Cousins in 1884.
  • Alexander Campbell, born in 1862, died in 1922, married Emma Ida Daniel in 1891.
  • Margaret Campbell, born in 1865, died in 1934, married Samuel Edward Portman Vernon in 1907.
  • Catherine Campbell, born in 1866, died in 1946, married Andrew Barr in 1903.
  • Archibald Campbell, born in 1868, died in 1869.
  • Anne Campbell, born in 1870 (twin), died in 1943, married John McDonald in 1903.
  • Jane Campbell, born in 1870 (twin), died in 1923, married Andrew McGregor in 1900.
  • Maria Campbell, born in 1873, died in 1950, married Albert Swanwick in 1897.
  • Sarah Campbell, born in 1875, died in 1955, married Robert Henry Ledlie in 1898.
  • Isabella Campbell, born in 1877, died in 1882.

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John McKinnon

A John McKinnon, 20, labourer from Borline, Skye, recommended by Tallasker, appeared on the initial list of passengers on the Blenheim, with his name crossed out, but then added again at the end of the list. He was also included on subsequent lists.


Return to The Blenheim People.


The following information requires confirmation.

John McKinnon may not have stayed long in Wellington. Along with 50-60 settlers, including several from the Blenheim,  a John McKinnon left for Hobart on the Lord Sidmouth on 4 February 1841, barely six weeks after arrival.

The Colonial Times of Hobart, in its edition of 23 February 1841, noted that:

The passengers arrived by the Lord Sidmouth, who are about sixty in number, amongst other unfavourable reports state, that, in consequence of the frequency of earthquakes, of which several shocks had been experienced by the settlers since their arrival, they dare not build stone buildings of any size. We were not before aware that the Colony was visited by such a calamity, and we trust the report will turn out to be unfounded. We give it, however, as we received it; and shall be most happy to have it in our power to contradict the assertion.

The same issue of the newspaper also published the list of passengers who arrived on the Lord Sidmouth on 19 February,

FEB. 19.-Arrived the barque Lord Sidmouth, Marr master, from Port Nicholson 4th inst. Passengers – Mr. Hind, Mr. W. Blyth, Dr. Campbell, Dr. Sutherland, Miss M. Rankin, H. Goodwin, wife, .and 6 children, G. Boonger and wife, G. Murray and ‘wife, J. Blyth and wife, C. Morris, wife, and 6 children, P. Shields, S. Wilson, J. Gordon, M. Briton, R. Whitewood, J. Cromworth, – Walker and wife, T. Bonnie, J. Stephens and wife, – Kilgrove, wife, and 5 children, H. M’Kinnon, J M’Kinnon, J. Hichman, wife, and child, J. Lockwood, J. Simmons, J. Chisom, M. M’Eachan, – Eago, P. Lanachar, and Mrs. O’Brien.

There is no further information established for John McKinnon.


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